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A 15 to 30 minute urodynamic study (a test of your bladder, the muscle around the neck of your bladder and urethra) will help to determine any underlying reasons for urinary problems such as incontinence and difficulty in passing urine. A urodynamic study is usually only done if other tests are inconclusive or if other treatments have failed.

Why you might need it

A urodynamic study is a comprehensive attempt to find the reason for bladder problems such as incontinence or difficulty passing urine. You’ll probably have already had several other tests and treatments for the condition and the study can help you and your doctors decide on the next steps.

The urodynamic study aims to identify:

  • any involuntary contractions (squeezing) of your bladder muscles
  • if your bladder capacity is normal
  • if your bladder pressure is normal during filling and emptying.

During the 15 to 30 minute test your consultant will insert two catheters (small thin tubes) into your urethra (the passage through which urine leaves your body) and a third either into your vagina or your rectum. Before starting they may apply an anaesthetic gel to numb the area.

They’ll pour sterile water and a dye (or contrast) through one of the catheters to check how your bladder responds and when you feel like urinating. Your consultant may also take X-rays and you’ll be asked to urinate at the end of the test.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

We may also ask you to record how often and when you pass urine in a 'voiding diary' for a few days.

After this discussion, we will confirm you can be booked straight in for the test.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

You may also be asked to give information about when you experience urgency or urinary leakage.

If you have a urinary tract infection on the day of your study, you'll need to reschedule the procedure until its cleared up as it can skew the results of the test.

The procedure

We understand that some people feel embarrassed about taking this particular test and that any medical procedure causes anxiety. However the test could provide your doctors with the information they need to diagnose your condition and recommend treatment that could help to correct it.

Your consultant and dedicated nurses have seen it all before and will support you throughout this test.

The urodynamic study takes up to 30 minutes and it is highly likely you’ll go home immediately after the test. The test has several short stages.

  • Your consultant will insert two thin tubes (catheters) into your bladder through the urethra (the thin passage through which urine drains from your body).
  • They will use one catheter to slowly fill your bladder with sterile water and an X-ray dye. A machine attached to the second catheter will measure how much your bladder can hold and the pressure inside it.
  • As the bladder is filled, you will be asked to tell the consultant when you feel the need to urinate.
  • A third catheter in your vagina or rectum will measure how much pressure your body is putting on your bladder.
  • Your consultant might also ask you to cough or strain at several points to test your bladder’s reaction to pressure.
  • Your consultant might also take X-rays and will ask you to urinate to check urine flow.

Aftercare

You’ll be able to leave hospital straight after the test but the test results might be available immediately to discuss with your consultant. Alternatively you’ll be offered an appointment in the near future during which the results will be explained and together you can agree the treatment that offers the best chance of ending your incontinence or other bladder-related problem.

You may feel mild discomfort, especially when passing urine, for a few hours after the test. You might also have some blood in your urine for a day or so.


Looking after you

After your test and you have the results and a treatment recommendation, we’re still here for you. We offer integrated medicine and together we can help you plan the best treatment path for you.

A urodynamic study is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure. For most people the benefits of having a clear diagnosis are much greater than any disadvantages. However, even minor medical procedures carry the risk of complications although most people are unaffected. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of treatment you are having and other factors such as your general health. Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.

Before leaving the hospital you will also be provided with a contact number for the hospital in case you need to ask for further advice. Try to drink fluids regularly for 48 hours afterwards to help flush out any possible infection. You should contact the hospital immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms as you may have developed an infection and could need antibiotics.

  • find that the frequency and urgency to urinate increases after the test
  • feel a burning sensation on passing urine or your urine becomes smelly
  • feel unwell or have pain
  • develop a high temperature or fever.

If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

You can trust Spire Cardiff Hospital to provide you with a single, fixed price (1) so there are no surprises. And, through our carefully chosen partner (2) you can even be considered for interest free finance.

We’re here to help you with making these important choices, so you’re then free to concentrate on your treatment and on getting back to being you.

(1) Important: Please read Spire’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price* when paying for yourself.

(2) Zebra Finance Ltd trading as Zebra Health Finance , Lincoln House, Stephensons Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6LY. 

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Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.